I admit it. I am a Facebook junkie.
It all started for me back in ’08. I was living in Australia, and I yearned for a homeland connection.
At first, the thrill of the adventure was so exciting that I could barely contain myself. Within days, I was in contact with people that I had forgotten meant so much to me. Old faces marched across my screen carrying the memories attached to them. Initially, the main thrust of my new Facebook friends came from my days in NYC and Paris. The flashbacks were extreme. Photos came fluttering in and all of a sudden there I was 24 years old again, sitting amongst the who’s who at some fab restaurant, a member of the jet-set.
The rush was strong.
After a while, old classmates started popping up. I was never popular at school, but judging by the friend requests that came in, from “kids” that I used to think were stinkers, it became apparent that I was being admired from afar.
Family members, long-lost cousins, old friends, and people that I had a passing interaction with smiled at me waiting for acceptance.
Finally, it dawned on me (a bit late, but still) that Facebook is an incredibly powerful tool that can be utilized to create marketing miracles. Being a fourth generation salesperson, the thrill of the catch, the pitch, and the potential win/win set me on fire!
I went ballistic. I figured that if my new cyber buddy had anyone in common with me, they were safe. Besides, I was doing research. All in the name of business mind you.
I was hooked.
The possibilities in my mind were endless. A new business merger perhaps? Maybe an endorsement deal (which did, in fact, happen)?
Connections are queen! Why not groom the royal court? Just in case, just to see what can happen. Curious, oh I was so very curious.
Then the worm turned.
Things have become weird. My cyber circle has been infiltrated and contaminated.
I received a personal message from a newbie friend regarding my FACE being used on an upscale dating site. WTF? This new friend forwarded me all of the details.
There I was on some swanky NYC dating site. Some talented jerk poached my FB profile picture and used it to lure customers. The “about me” was shocking. Apparently, I was available for threesomes, up for anything wild, ready for action. Holy crap.
I contacted the Dating Agency, of course no one answered. I harassed the living daylights out of their answering machine. To no avail.
My new friend, the “whistleblower” said that he was furious with the site, because HELLO he had requested a date with ME. Someone shorter, darker, heavier and accentuated with random facial hair showed up at his door instead.
How weird is that? False advertising and identity theft. Nice. And yes, knowing that my new “friend” would consider me his latest wet dream garnered him the flick! BLOCKED.
Lavish loving posts were being sent my way. They were messages from a woman, who was, of course, a friend of many of my friends. She was generous with compliments. She was encouraging. She was just the type of friend that everyone would want. As our relationship blossomed, she began mentioning a foundation that she was diligently putting together.
The Royal Family was involved. The United Nations was involved. Her foundation was going to change the world. Her organization would save children and animals. Her foundation was also going to celebrate icons of fashion.
The government of Poland was behind her foundation. The media was lined up; the press was already holding their breath.
The red carpet, decorated with a constellation of Celebrities from around the world, had to be extended. I was invited to be the media guru for this world-changing event. My job would be one of appanage. I would be front and center reporting to the world, hobnobbing with celebs and sharing all the details with you dear reader via whatever outlet available. What a privilege.
It got even better.
The Queen of England, yes you read that right was interested in granting an interview, my “friend” was connected.
That’s right about the time that I started seeing pigs fly.
Another Facebook friend (a real one, a tangible-I-actually-knew-her) sent me a message written in sheer panic. This person who was promising the world on a golden platter was an impostor. She was vicious. She was threatening my real friend. She used one Facebook connection to garner another.
She was a fraud.
In fact, we started pondering was this nasty imposter even a woman? “She” could have been a man. Putting two and two together, it dawned on us that we had never actually seen a recent picture of our flamboyant do-gooder.
No one had ever spoken to “her” on the phone. Where did she live? What country, city, back alley did “she” spring forth from?
There we were, the both of us getting sucked into a web of grand dreams; we were ripe for the picking.
The good news as far as I am concerned is that I never gave wacko my address. I cannot say the same for my comrade.
Of course, we BLOCKED and deleted our connection with this phantom. The creepiest thing of all is the fact that the impostor was able to connect with our family members and other friends. Just like that, she is here to stay.
A couple of weeks ago I started receiving private messages … click … behold a woman with her ass bared, winking at me with her third eye. Her name? Julie Anderson. The person who sent it to me was a man, probably praying to God that this picture was depicting me in my new line of work. He was erect with the fantasy that his wish was about to come true. Of course, I set him straight and blocked his ass too.
My Facebook profile started to receive a barrage of photos that had were tagged with my name.
The tagged images depicted almost-naked chicks, doing the nasty in some random hotel room. WTF?
I sent a message to the person who was tagging this crap, asked him what his point was and demanded that he STOP it right now. I untagged everything. PING. The photos bounced back.
Jerk-off never responded to my message. Upon further inspection, it turns out that this individual is also an associate with a gaggle of my Facebook friends. People that I know, in REAL LIFE, have fallen prey to him. Again, another impostor had infiltrated my sacred bubble of Facebook land.
I had no idea that the worst possible Facebook “friend” that anyone would encounter was about to rear his ugly head.
I woke up one morning with a cryptic message waiting for me in PM land. This time, the message came from someone I know, someone who I have worked with, someone real.
She was giving me the heads up on a monster that has been masquerading around our inner circle. I always thought this dude was odd, but hell when I checked out his “friends list” they were all my REAL buddies, so I just chalked him up as an eccentric. I can do eccentric. I am used to them, in fact, some would say that I am an eccentric as well.
In this case, eccentric is not the right word to describe him. This person is/was a pimp. This person is/was a drug dealer. This person is most definitely a pedophile. Out of his deranged mouth, the vilest words have spewed. He has threatened to “cut that bitch up.” He has asked that one of our mutual friends send her ten-year-old daughter his way. That friend filed a restraining order against him.
In an attempt to protect the innocent, I put a new status up announcing that a psychotic freak is amongst us. (I kept his name out of it.) I invited those that are interested in his identity to send me a private message.
Some of my friends have suggested that I name and shame him publicly.
Here is the rub on that:
I could be sued for defamation of this asshole’s character!
IS FACEBOOK STILL MY FRIEND?
It gives me the creeps to think about how I invited this freaky stuff into my world, by accepting unknown individuals into my inner circle based on the friends we have in common. A stupid mistake that I will never make again.
Will I deactivate? I should, but I won’t. I do too much business with the damn thing.
I rely on it to keep up with the lives of those that I love. It makes the distance between those that I care about nonexistent. I feel connected.
Sometimes, I even feel like some of my Facebookers are my family. I have also made incredible connections that are tangible.
My relationship with Facebook is a complicated one.
Where are the cyber bouncers when we need them?